The purpose of this assignment is to:
- Provide you with experience in locating and reviewing literature pertinent to social work practice.
- Give you practice in analyzing the application of research literature to practice.
- Give you practice in interviewing someone about a problem or challenge that they are facing or have faced.
- Assist you in the development of your writing skills and give you practice in using APA style citation.
Please note that all graded pieces of this assignment should be typed and submitted through Blackboard.
This project is done in stages:
- FIRST THINGS FIRST: Identify a problem or challenge that is addressed in chapters 6-12 of the textbook that interests you and develop a preliminary question. Identify a person in your life that experiences this problem or challenge who is willing to be interviewed a bit later on in the semester.
- ONLINE 9/24, 8:30AM: You will meet with a librarian to help you search for articles on your topic. Conduct a review of the social work literature and identify six related empirical articles that address your topic. These articles must be from peer-reviewed social work journals, and they must have been published within the past ten years (i.e. all articles dated after 1/1/2010). (Hint: An empirical article has a methods section. If an article you locate does not have a methods section, then you cannot use it for this assignment.)
- 10/2: Complete the Topic Worksheet. This worksheet is intended to help you solidify your research topic and question and give you a direction for the project.
- 10/16: To help you get a feel for what you’ll be writing for the literature review, please read the sample literature review by Chapman and Perreira (2005), and complete the Reviewing Literature Reviews worksheet.
- 10/23: complete the Literature Review Article Worksheet for 3 of 6 articles you selected. In anticipation of this part of the assignment, you should narrow down your research question to several relevant articles, skim the abstracts of those whose topics seem most relevant. Then, once you locate the most relevant, read the articles in their entirety and complete the worksheet.
- While not required, I recommend that you complete worksheets for the other three articles. It will help you write your paper!
- Using the information on the worksheets, and any notes you have on the remaining three articles, compare and contrast the articles.
- Interview someone in your life who has experienced this problem and is willing to talk about it. Apply what you learned in your literature review to your understanding of your interviewee’s problem. In what ways did the articles assist you in understanding the problem or issue? Provide examples that integrate the knowledge you gained through reading the articles with the information that you gathered in your interview.
- 11/6: The draft MUST include the review of the six articles; you may wait to do the interview. Your reference list must include all sources used in writing the draft. You will receive 10 points for submitting a draft that includes the following sections written professionally: Introduction, Professional Literature Reviewed, and Comparison and Analysis of Articles (see outline below).
- Consult the writing guides available through Hood’s Library: https://hood.libguides.com/litreview/write
- If you receive a grade of 70% or lower on the draft, you will be required to meet with a writing coach through the Student Success Center and provide evidence of that meeting, in order to receive credit for your final draft.
- Draft feedback will be returned to you in time to make revisions and complete the final version.
- 11/20: The final copy of the paper is due. It must be submitted to Chalk & Wire. Final paper will be graded using a rubric that assesses the inclusion of required elements, the writing, and use of APA style citation.
- In addition to the paper, you will be asked to submit Galman’s (2006) self-editing checklist (see Blackboard). Recommended page length: 8-10, not including cover page and references. Papers shorter than 6 pages or longer than 12 will be rejected.
Suggested Paper Outline
The final paper should include the following sections:
A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should:
- define your topic and provide an appropriate context for reviewing the literature;
- establish your reasons – i.e. point of view – for reviewing the literature;
- explain the organization – i.e. sequence – of the review;
- state the scope of the review – i.e. what is included and what isn’t included. For example, if you were reviewing the literature on obesity in children you might say something like: There are a large number of studies of obesity trends in the general population. However, since the focus of this research is on obesity in children, these will not be reviewed in detail and will only be referred to as appropriate.
The middle or main body should:
- organize the literature according to common themes;
- provide insight into the relationship between your chosen topic and the wider subject area e.g. between obesity in children and obesity in general;
- move from a general, wider view of the literature being reviewed to the specific focus of your research.
- Comparison and analysis of articles
- Because you will be choosing different articles related to different topics, this section will be different for each one of you. Remember that you chose the article to help you understand the specific issue as it relates to something that interests you as a future social work practitioner. You might choose to contrast the articles on the theoretical approaches used, the types of research conducted, the populations studied, or the findings. Only after taking notes on the articles (using the outline presented in class) will you be able to group the articles in ways that make sense to you.
- Comparing and contrasting means identify common elements and differences in the paper and noting them. The purpose of this part of the assignment – and the part where you apply the knowledge you gained – is to develop your skills in analytic thinking and to prepare you for writing a literature review for a research paper next year. Do not simply summarize the articles one after another. The best literature reviews synthesize what is known about the topic.
- Describe your interviewee and the issue, problem, or challenge he or she faced or faces as it relates to your chosen topic. You do not need to identify the person or his or her relationship to you.
- Example: “I interviewed a teenager, age 19, who experienced severe post-partum depression after the birth of her second child. She was hospitalized for one week when her child was one month old, and now takes anti-depressant medication.”
- Provide enough details so that your application of the knowledge in the articles will make sense.
- Apply what you learned in your literature review to your understanding of your interviewee’s problem (use critical thinking skills).
- Did the articles assist you in understanding the problem or issue? In what ways? Provide examples that integrate the knowledge you gained through reading the articles with the information that you gathered in your interview.
- If you did not find the articles useful, you must also provide examples that demonstrate why this was so.
- For example, you may find a research article on treatment for post-partum depression that used white middle class women as research subjects and that some issues – such as housing, financial instability, and limited access to health care services – were not generally a concern for the research subjects.
The conclusion should:
- summarize the important aspects of the existing body of literature;
- evaluate the current state of the literature reviewed;
- identify significant flaws or gaps in existing knowledge;
- outline areas for future study;
- link your research to existing knowledge.